Prepare Your ESL Students for the Real World: 11 Incredible Topics for Business Students

Prepare Your ESL Students for the Real World
11 Incredible Topics for Business Students

Andrea Pesce
by Andrea Pesce 13,776 views

Teaching business students can be a daunting task.

Business people desperately need ESL lessons in order to ensure an advantage in the sometimes cruel business world. Though there are some challenges when teaching business students, there is no reason why you can't overcome them with the right preparation. This is why choosing the right activities and material is so important. There are countless resources available either on line or in books that provide incredible material for business people in practically every area of specialization. Doing some research on what your students need is definitely necessary. However we can safely say that no matter what area of business your students are in, there are quite a few great and relevant topics business students can benefit from to cope in the business world. These topics and the subtopics included in them, will provide purposeful, meaningful, and authentic opportunities for business students to relate to the lesson.

11 Amazing Topics You Can Use in Your ESL Business Lesson:

  1. 1

    My Company

    This topic is usually a bit general. In this topic students usually practice providing information about a company. They give descriptions of what the company does, how old it is in the market, how well it does regarding revenues and competitors. Students can see an example of an organizational chart and see the different departments typically present in most companies.

  2. 2

    A Job Interview

    Job interviews can be very tricky. This is an extremely important topic and an amazing one to present vocabulary and structures that are needed during job interviews. Students also practice talking about their CVs , describing their strengths and educational background and answering questions that are generally present during job interviews.

  3. 3

    Performance Reviews

    Like the previous one, this is also an important topic to cover. All employees undergo performance reviews at least once a year. You can cover the most common questions asked and great ways to answer them. Here students can also practice describing what they do well and what support they need from the company. It is also good to practice where they see themselves in the future.

  4. 4


    Though not everyone works in sales, this activity is closely related to many other departments in a company. Covering some things like, sales forecasts, quotas, strategies, graphs and charts is very useful to most business students.

  5. 5


    This should include general vocabulary, like the topic of sales. Here you can cover marketing strategies, market research methods, marketing budgets and common issues that come up in campaigns.

  6. 6


    Like the topics of sales and marketing, it should be dealt with in a general manner. Once again, no matter what department your students belong to, accounting is closely tied to most, if not all activities in a company. You can practice reading large numbers, comparing information, discussing charts and graphs.

  7. 7

    Business Trips

    A lot of business people need to travel and although taking trips sounds like a hoot, for business folks it's often stressful. This topic comes in handy to practice as much vocabulary and as many expressions related to traveling as possible. Some specific goals can also be covered, such as travel expenses and questions visitors are frequently asked when they are in other countries.

  8. 8


    It's another popular topic for business people. Everyone needs to give a presentation at one point or another, some in fact do this very often. It is great to practice parts of the presentation and popular phrases people use in each part. They can also practice situations like dealing with interruptions, taking questions at the end of the presentation and dealing with uncomfortable situations.

  9. 9

    Teleconferences and Meetings

    Meetings and similarly teleconferences are very present in the business scenario as well. After all, that's how things are communicated and also how important decisions are made. In order to avoid necessary traveling many meetings are held on-line and though this is convenient, it is also very tough for those who don't speak English fluently. Not being able to see the other participants sometimes makes the situation a bit more challenging. That's why practice in this area is welcome. Here students can practice how to start a meeting, introduce others and wrap up the meeting.

  10. q

    Projects and Deadlines

    There isn't a single business person who is not currently involved in a project of some kind. Projects are quite common in all departments and working in one requires specific vocabulary and expressions. This topic is perfect to practice vocabulary and expressions related to schedules and deadlines. It is also great to practice explaining why a project is behind schedule.

  11. w

    Business Lunches and Dinner Parties

    Attending dinner parties and business lunches is how many business people make important contacts or consolidate relationships with clients and fellow company employees. Though these events are mostly social, a lot of business is often conducted in them. In some cases important decisions are even made while wining and dining. This topic can help students practice how to invite someone to an event or a meal and also accepting or declining invitations. It is also great to practice small talk, how to start a conversation and how to end one as well. Many teachers take advantage of this chapter to cover how to avoid uncomfortable conversation topics and how to change the topic of a conversation.

Topic based learning is an incredible way to provide your students with clear objectives and to ensure the lesson is organized.

Keep in mind that each topic will include vocabulary, structures and expressions that will give your students the tools to cope in the business world. Just remember to make it simple and enjoyable.

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